NYPD deals with disorderly situation in Manhattan during Twitch personality’s gaming gear giveaway

NYPD deals with disorderly situation in Manhattan during Twitch personality's gaming gear giveaway

Wild Scene Unfolds as Giveaway Event Turns Chaotic

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A seemingly innocent giveaway event in a New York City park turned into a chaotic and adrenaline-fueled scene, as a surging crowd of young people ran through the streets, scaled structures, and disrupted traffic. Aerial TV news footage captured the pandemonium, showing teenagers swinging objects at car windows, some climbing on top of a moving vehicle, and others pounding on city buses. The chaotic situation continued well into the evening, with skirmishes breaking out and participants knocking over barricades, tossing bottles, and even a flower pot at police officers.

By 5:30 p.m., the police had managed to regain control of much of the area, but small pockets of resistance persisted. People were seen in hand restraints, sitting on the sidewalks, and at least one individual was led away by two officers. Police formed lines in the streets to direct the crowd’s movements. The exact number of injuries and arrests remains unknown.

The chaos surrounding the event can be traced back to the popularity of the streamer Kai Cenat, who had promoted a giveaway on his Instagram feed. Cenat, a video creator with millions of followers on Twitch and YouTube, hosted the event, enticing young people with the promise of computer equipment for livestreaming and new PlayStation consoles. Skylark Jones, 19, and her friend attended the event in hopes of securing a prize and getting a chance to meet the popular streamer.

When Jones and her friend arrived, the scene was already chaotic, with bottles being thrown and a sense of commotion in the air. The situation quickly escalated as the police arrived with riot shields, charging at the crowd. “It was a movie,” Jones recalled. “Police came with riot shields, charging at people.”

In the lead-up to the event, Cenat had livestreamed from a vehicle, displaying the gift cards he planned to give away. Concerned about the crowd and the growing police presence, he urged everyone to prioritize their safety and wait until the situation was deemed safe. Eventually, Cenat and his entourage made their way through the excited crowd, crossed a street, and entered the park before the livestream abruptly ended.

Carina Treile, the manager of a nearby eyeglass shop, found herself trapped in her store as the chaos unfolded outside. She expressed surprise at the disorganized nature of the event, noting that typically giveaways are more orderly. Treile mentioned hearing loud bangs, which added to the fright and confusion among the crowd. “That was a little bit scary, especially when people started running,” she said.

The scenes captured in the media footage showcased a significant lack of organization and control over an event that promised excitement and prizes. It serves as a reminder that even though livestreamers like Cenat have built massive online followings, the real-world execution of events can result in unpredictability and chaos.

The authorities, armed with batons, resorted to using metal barricades and loudspeakers to disperse the crowd. However, it took a considerable effort to restore order and ensure public safety. As the situation finally calmed down, the community was left to reflect on the unexpected turn of events.

It’s important to note that giveaways, when properly organized, can be a fun and exciting experience for both participants and organizers. However, lessons must be learned from incidents like this to ensure that future events are adequately planned, managed, and executed. The safety and well-being of attendees should always remain a top priority.

This dramatic scene in New York City will be remembered as a cautionary tale, a reminder that even the most innocent-sounding events can quickly spiral out of control. Hopefully, the fallout from this incident will lead to improvements in event planning, security procedures, and crowd management, ensuring that future giveaways are enjoyable and safe for all involved.


Associated Press writers Brooke Lansdale, Mallika Sen, Deepti Hajela, Mallika Sen, and Karen Matthews contributed to this report.